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Title: Chemocommunication and social behaviour in three Panthera species in captivity, with particular reference to the lion, P. leo
Author: Andersen, Kristian Funding
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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This project is a contribution towards the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the chemocommunication systems of large mammals. Data are included on the social behaviour and use of scent marking for the African lion P. leo as well as two other Panthera species namely the Siberian tiger, P. tigris altaica, and the leopard, P. pardus. The study was conducted in three Zoos or Safariparks in Denmark: København Zoo, Givskud Safaripark and Knuthenborg Safaripark. The project comprised behavioural observations of the undistributed social and marking patterns of the study groups. Particular attention was paid towards Spraymarking, Scrape/urination and normal Urination but Clawing, Chinrubbing and Defaecation were also recorded. Methods were developed which made it possible to collect samples of scent marks from the study animals. The scent samples collected were used in an experimental investigation in which the animals were presented with scent marks from foreign individuals of varying sex, age or reproductive status. In the final part of the study the scent mark samples collected were subjected to chemical analysis using the "Headspace" procedure on a combined Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer. The activity and social interactions of the animals, although under influence of the captive environment, were generally close to what one would expect to see for wild animals. Each animal showed a distinct activity pattern and social repertoire, but more general differences between the sex/age groups were also found. Males tended to stand more than females or cubs and show higher levels of Investigation, whereas females generally moved more than males. Cubs played more than the two adult groups. These trends were seen in all three species. Each animal had a distinct marking repertoire, but generally the male patterns were dominated by Spraymarking followed by Scrape/urination, whereas the female patterns were much more variable. Male lions had higher rates of Spraymarking and significantly higher rates of Scrape/urination than females. No significant difference was found between Spraymarking rates of male and female tiger, but both had significantly higher rates than castrated male tigers. The leopard male had higher rates of the two marking types than the female.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral